The Basics Of Winter Care

Well winter is just around the bend and as most of us know it means major road grime and nasty salt on your vehicles exterior and even your interior. Winter prep is a must especially if you live in an area where snow is the norm. While most of us have windshields the guy in the picture looks like he is going to have one hell of a winter!

One of the most common questions enthusiasts often ask is "what should I use to protect my vehicle through winter?" I think a better question is "how do I protect my vehicle through winter". With winter prep most enthusiasts often do one final polishing before adding their final layer of winter protection.

Some of the basics include:

  • A long lasting wax or paint sealant
  • Working windshield wipers and water repellent
  • Interior protection such as rubber floor mats
  • Protecting your wheels
  • Protecting rubber and other components under the hood

The use of spray waxes/sealants really help during the winter months to boost protection, plus they are easy to use and can be applied while drying. Most spray waxes can be applied to your exterior glass and trim without the worry of staining trim. Generally paint sealants offer lasting protection over a carnauba wax but there are exceptions to this with wax products such as collinite. You may also choose to "top" your sealant with a wax. Multiple layers of a product can be affective to a point so choosing a long lasting product to begin with is crucial if you are going to stay protected through winter.

We all know that an old pair of windshield wipers really does not do much of anything except make your visibility a nightmare so changing your wipers is a good thing. There are lots of water repellent products on the market for glass today with varying results but I have found that a simple spray wax can work wonders for glass by beading water away as it would on paint. The technology available today is increasing the longevity of spray waxes/sealants.

Protecting your vehicles interior is just as important as protecting the exterior! After all, you wouldn't want a show vehicle on the outside and an old beater on the inside right? Not all floor mats are equal, some look good while others perform good. I really like and recommend rubber floor mats with a slightly raised surface to catch debris and they will actually hold water which is excellent for catching all that melting snow from your shoes.

Interior protection can come in many forms such as floor mats, plastic covers, interior fabric guards, UV resistant dressings, leather cleaners and protectants, and the list goes on! Seat covers can be found almost anywhere and come in many styles to fit your needs. Plastic seat covers are good but you don't want your backseat to look like your grandmas couch right? One product I highly recommend is Ultima Interior Guard Plus as it protects just about every surface in your vehicles interior.

Most of us in harsh winter area's change our wheels and tires for snow and ice but some of us don't. I personally use my stock wheels for winter driving but I want to keep them looking nice for the resale! There are a variety of wheels out there ranging from painted to chromed, and there is also a way to protect each of these wheels with products that are made for your specific wheel type. Generally speaking you can use a wide range of protection products on many different wheels. Waxing wheels or using a paint sealant is a great way to keep them protected through winter plus this is where our good friend Mr spray wax comes in again.

You wouldn't think that protecting the hoses and plastic etc under the hood would be important but it is! Road salts and grime can get under the hood and reek havoc on your hoses and plastics. This is where a good exterior dressing can keep things from drying out or becoming stained or faded. The last thing you need in a snow storm is a dried out and blown coolant hose.

These are just some basic guidelines to winter protection and there will be more articles dealing with more specific things such as winter washing, etc. Comments and additions to this are welcome! Thanks for reading!


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